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When you visit the grocery store during the fall, you probably see a variety of brightly colored squash in the produce section. These great vegetables are only available during this season, so make the most of them while you can! They're a great side to just about any meal and can be prepared with other seasonal ingredients for a delicious autumn dish.
1. Acorn squash with cranberries and walnuts
This easy recipe makes the most of the delicious acorn squash that you can only get during the fall. Pick up a few when you're at the supermarket, and serve this dish alongside baked chicken to your friends at the retirement community.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking dish with foil. Cut each squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the halves cut side up on the baking dish, then drizzle with olive oil. In a small bowl, place walnuts, cranberries and brown sugar. Toss to combine the ingredients, then split the mixture among the squash halves. Top each with 1 tablespoon of butter. Cover the vegetables loosely with a sheet of foil, then bake for 75 minutes or until squash is tender.
2. Delicata squash with quinoa and mushrooms
Another delicious variety of winter squash is delicata. This recipe pairs the sweet taste of the vegetable with flavorful mushrooms and quinoa. It's the perfect dish to serve alongside leftover turkey from the holidays.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with foil. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds. Brush with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle on thyme, salt and pepper. Place each half face-down in the baking pan and cook for 25 minutes, or until you can easily push a fork into the flesh.
While the squash is cooking, combine quinoa and vegetable broth in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the liquid is absorbed, around 10 minutes. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, onions and garlic in the remaining oil for five minutes. Add quinoa, vinegar and almonds and continue to cook for five to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered until squash is cooked. Spoon the quinoa mixture into each vegetable half and serve.
3. Butternut squash fries
Rounding out the awesome array of winter squash is the classic butternut variety. There are lots of ways to prepare the vegetable - roasted, grilled or mashed, to name a few. But have you ever tried it in fry form? Butternut squash fries are a great side to hamburgers or steak and contain lots of great nutrients to keep your body healthy.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with a layer of cooking spray. Peel your squash and cut in half. Remove the seeds, then slice the vegetable into wedges or sticks. Toss the fries in a large bowl with oil and salt. Arrange the squash on the prepared baking sheet. Cook for 20 to 35 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them. Turn them once after around 10 minutes.